A Dog’s Life (1918) Silent. Chaplin’s first written. produced, and starring film for First Nation Films, with “Scraps” the dog and Edna Purviance as the love interest. Action-packed and full of surprising comic skits that all connect to a solid plot. The slums were never better photographed, nor the crime in American cities better exposed. This remarkable movie also features Chaplin’s brother, Syd, as the lunchwagon owner.
Undertaker radar, the death clown
Scrambles beneath overpasses,
Down sewers, and under bridges,
Poking with his cane the refuse
And charred remains to pounce
On a knickknack before the pack.
Hot dogs and biscuits, grab
Or starve, stray dog and stray
Tramp brick a cop, take a dive
And get thrown out, sleep
With fleas in a vacant lot.
Dig for a bone, cudgel and cuddle.
Equally stray and bewildered,
An innocent, refusing advances of a thug,
Is fired without salary; grabbing for
The dog’s leash she grabs the tramp
Who knows better than most
Who really needs a kick in the pants.
For he’s got a dog in his pants, tail
Wagging the drum, falsetto tears
Drowning hypocrisy, to bonk
A pickpocket and manipulate
His hands for the cash
Flying thief to thief.
That’s the way with capital
And cops, there aren’t enough
Dog rescuers to keep out of jail,
So fake a happy ending, cabin
In a field of ripe crops, baby
Pups cradled before the hearth.
[Disposable Poem September 7, 2016]